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Illustration of frostbite on the fingers
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  • National Institutes of Health

Also called: Cold-related illness

In cold weather, your body may lose heat faster than you can produce it. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. It can make you sleepy, confused and clumsy. Because it happens gradually and affects your thinking, you may not realize you need help. That makes it especially dangerous. A body temperature below 95° F is a medical emergency and can lead to death if not treated promptly.

Anyone who spends much time outdoors in cold weather can get hypothermia. You can also get it from being cold and wet, or under cold water for too long. Babies and old people are especially at risk. Babies can get it from sleeping in a cold room.

Other cold-related health problems are

  • Frostbite - frozen body tissue, most often the face, ears, fingers or toes
  • Frostnip - an early warning sign of frostbite that leaves affected areas white and numb
  • Chilblains - red, swollen skin caused by inflamed small blood vessels

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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